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Because CPM is a network analysis technique, the history of it - in very

broad terms - can be traced back to the turn of the century when
mathematicians began to give much thought to networks in connection with
the newly developing electrical industry.
CPM as a project planning and control technique, however, is of fairly recent .
vintage. What is presently called CPM was developed during the late 1950's in
two more-or-less ~arallelactions: the DuPont Company's Refinery Renovation
Project and the U.S. Navy's Fleet Ballistic Missile Project.
DuPont during the late 1950's was interested in scheduling refining
renovation projects so that the time a refinery was not productive was
minimized. A major consideration of their scheduling of course was the cost of
, project speedup. They wanted the schedule that was optimally economical
considering both the revenue loss caused by refinery inaction and the cost of
project acceleration.
DuPont and a team of people from the Univac Division of the Remington
Rand Company developed a project planning and scheduling technique based
on network analysis. This technique they called CRlTlCAL PATH PLANNING
and SCHEDULING - CPPS for short.
CPPS was used by the DuPont Company with great success. The company
found that this technique required only about half as much effort as other
planning and scheduling mechanisms they had previously used and that they
saved considerable amounts of money in the renovation of just one refinery.
At about the same time, the Navy Department was faced with the problem
of overseeing the large, complex, and extremely important Fleet Ballistic
Missile Project - the famous Polaris Project. Their problem was complicated
by the fact that there were several levels of subcontractors working within the
many major divisions of the job. The Navy was seeking a way to-calculate or
predict the effect on one part of the project on developments in al1 others and
viceversa. Their object was the isolation of trouble spots early enough to take
appropriate action and to make most effective use of available time and
The Navy and the Lockheed Company - the prime contractor - produced
a technique they called "Project Evaluation and Review Technique" or PERT
for short. This was a technique that produced a project schedule along with a
statistical probability of meeting the schedule, and then evaluated and
reviewed the progress of the project against this schedule.
The Navy implemented the PERT system with much success on the Polaris
Project. They have stated that their use of PERT was largely responsible for
saving 18 months in the successful completion of this critica1 project.
These two projects started the use of what we now cal1 CPM.
During the middle and second half of the 1960's two developments
produced substantial expansion of CPM usage.
First was the espousal and the educational endorsement of CPM by the
Associated General Contractors of America. In 1963 the AGC, reacting to
increasing interest expressed by its members, had devoted one entire segment
of its annual convention to a presentation of information about the use of
CPM. Featured was a General Contractor's on-the-job experience with the
technique. This was followed in 1965 by the AGC's publication of CPM ln
Construction, one of the predecessors to this book, which became the
standard reference manual in the industry. Again in 1967 AGC responded to
the needs of its members by publishing Cost Control and CPM ln
Construction, an expansion into CPM-Cost lntegration. AGC made a second
national convention presentation with this book.
Spurred by these actions, state and local AGC chapters sponsored extensive
series of training seminars for their members' employees. These were well
attended and developed a basic framework of common knowledge and
experience at both working and management levels.
The second action important to the expanded use of CPM was the decision
by many construction oriented Federal Government Agencies to require the
use of CPM on large projects. The General Services Administration (GSA),
and the Corps of Engineers led this movement with mixed results.
In many cases of specified CPM usage, insufficient attention was paid to the
warnings presented in the AGC's first book on CPM and repeated in this one.
Much bitterness and numerous misunderstandings resulted from early
specified use of CPM because the specifications were insufficiently written
and because specifying agency personnel were not adequately trained in what
CPM could and could not do.'
Nevertheless, because of such actions, Contractors nationwide were faced
with the necessity of using CPM and learning its values and pitfalls quickly.
CPM has grown considerably in the years since the late 50's to the point
now where it is a set of tools that uses the features of PERT and of CPPS as
well as some new refinements in a continuing process of project time and cost
control. The letters CPM have traditionally meant CRlTlCAL PATH METHOD,
but the technique called CPM now uses CRlTlCAL PATH METHOD only as
the basis for an entire system of project control. This system could perhaps be
more accurately called COMPLETE PROJECT MANAGEMENT.
CPM over the years has been used effectively on many projects, usually with
great success. However, CPM is not a technique developed exclusively for the
construction industry, despite the fact that this industry has been probably the
most extensive user.
CPM has been used with much success, for example, by a State
government to schedule and control the production of the State's biannual

'While currer;tly used specifications have had many of the bugs worked out
of them, they still must be handled with great care and with the realization by
the General Contractor that they have been generared - as have most of the
specifications - ro protect rhe specifier.
budget - an entirely administrative task. A large east coast city used the
technique to coordinate the "move-in" operation of the staff of their city
hospital with the various phases of its ~enovation. The Polaris project
mentioned earlier was a research and development project using the
technique. New product developments, marketing efforts, broadway
productions and Presidential campaigns have al1 benefitted from the
availability of CPM. CPM has been used on almost any kind of project in which
the activities to be done could be defined and a desire for project control


CPM is a management technique. It is a scheduling procedure that requires
the manager of a construction project to completely plan and schedule, in
sequence, the many details required to properly complete his job. Since many
services, trades, and supplies are required during the course of construction,
al1 those who are responsible must be considered during the preparation of
CPM data.
One point regarding CPM should be made clear. CPM is a contractor's
scheduling technique utilized to plan and organize the flow of work and
materials in an orderly and systematic fashion. If CPM properly performs this
function, then savings will result. However, if CPM is introduced carelessly,
reluctantly, or with unconcern on the part of users as to the functional values
of such a system, then it undoubtedly will become an added burden to the job
which hinders rather than helps. CPM should cave time and money. If itcannot
be demonstrated that this is a fact, then CPM should be abandoned in favor of
other or more traditional means of scheduling.
Contractors must show a willingness to use CPM or at least to try it) in
order to make the system work effectively. Without this, the system starts off
with two strikes against t. For this reason, Owners and Architects should be
extremely c3reful in specifying CPM. Forcing this sytem by specifying can not
only reduce the scope of bidders, but can introduce confusion,
misunderstanding and hard feelings on the part of those who are forced to
use it.
Actually, if CPM can properly demonstrate that it is a better and more
scientific method of scheduling than previous procedures, then it will become
an accepted and standard procedure eliminating the need of requiring it in
Another current problem with specifying CPM is the unfamiliarity of "half
knowledge" of the system by Owners and Architects. This introduces
complications since Architects not completely familiar with the system will
find difficulty in specifying correct requirements to insure CPM is being used
and followed without interfering with or'usurping the responsibilities of the
contractor. lmproperly worded specifications or lack of a complete
understanding of C?M by the Architect can result in a complete breakdown of
the system.
For this reason, it is important that Architects and Engineers completely
understand CPM prior to actually specifying its use.
It is the General Contractor who must develop the CPM network and
schedule since he is ultimately the person responsible for the completion of the
pi.oject as well as the manner in which it will be put together. Naturally, the
Owner, Architect, and Engineer have certain responsibilities to perform during
the course of construction - such as periodic inspection, processing change
o.rders, and approval of shop drawings - al1 of which have a direct bearing
upon the flow of work activities. These major responsibilities should be
considered and included in any CPM system, after consultation and agreement
with the principals involved. This, then, not only serves as a schedule of duties
and activities to be carried out by the owner or the designefs, but it also serves
as documented evidence to pinpoint the responsibility for any delays.
It is very important that the major work items of specialty contractors and
subcontractors be included in a CPM system. Often the General Contractor
will include in his CPM system only the major items of work involving the
specialty or subcontractors relying on the individual subcontractors to develop
their own CPM system in more detail. For example, a Building Contractor
would be interested in such major items as setting of the boiler, installation of
transformers, start of the installation of the elevators, placing of the lighting
fixtures, setting of he cooling tower, and other major specialty items. The
details of these instolllations are usually then left up to the subcontractor
It is recommended that a pre-job conference be conducted with al1 specialty
contractors and subcontractors so that details can be worked out. CPM
requires a team effort on the part of al1 responsible parties involved in the
project to make it work effectively.